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Why Is Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Penalized as Harshly as DUI?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County criminal defense attorney BUI

It is common to wonder why having some drinks with friends out on a boat is as serious as driving a car while impaired. However, evidence shows that boating under the influence (BUI) can be even more dangerous than driving under the influence, and Tennessee law addresses that danger accordingly. If you are facing a BUI charge, do not hesitate to seek the help of an experienced BUI attorney in your area. Depending on the details of your case, a BUI conviction can result in steep punishment. For this reason, make sure you get all the help you need to prepare a proper defense. 

Degree of Impairment While BUI

The Coast Guard’s primary evidence for why BUI can be more dangerous than DUI is that, drink for drink, a boat operator is likely to become more intoxicated than a driver. This observation is supported by the statistic that about one-third of all recreational boating fatalities result from BUI. Because boating fatalities do not necessarily result from crashes, federal law prohibits anyone from operating any type of boat while intoxicated, whether it be a canoe or a large ship.

Boat operators are likely to become intoxicated more quickly than a driver because of the following:

  • Physical performance suffers when a boat operator consumes alcohol, and the resulting lack of coordination, balance, and reaction time can lead to capsizing and drowning.

  • Impairment can cause inner ear disturbances, preventing someone who falls into the water from distinguishing between up and down. 

  • Alcohol causes a misleading sensation of warmth, which can trick people into not getting out of cold water before they get hypothermia. 

These reasons are all separate from the dangers of DUI. The main threat that DUI and BUI share is that impaired drivers lose the ability to process information and make intelligent decisions. The Coast Guard estimates that anyone operating a boat who has a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than someone with zero blood alcohol concentration. Impaired passengers are also prone to injury and death since most boating fatalities are caused by drowning. 

Contact a Jacksboro, TN BUI Defense Lawyer

Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses grave risks, which are reflected by federal BUI laws. To stand the best chance at lessening or eliminating BUI charges, work with a knowledgeable Campbell County criminal defense attorney. At The Law Office of William F. Evans, we have helped many clients successfully defend against DUI and BUI charges. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, call us today at 423-449-7980.


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